Make sure the odometer gauge is aligned correctly. It shouldn’t be crooked, there should be no gaps. Check if it jiggles when you bang on the dash with your hand. If the vehicle has an analog odometer, as opposed to newer digital readouts, check that the numbers are lined up straight.
If you are checking a car with a digital odometer, it will be difficult to see physical signs of tampering. You can only know by dismantling the instrument cluster to see if the odometer has been desoldered.
However, you can look for service stickers inside the door or under the hood that may give the actual mileage.
If the odometer has been replaced or if a mileage correction was done, there will be a sticker showing:
- The date of installation.
- The vehicle’s last known mileage prior to the repair or replacement.
- The mileage added to the vehicle while the odometer was inoperable, if any.
You should also look at the owner’s manual for maintenance records. Make sure that there are no missing pages. It is also smart to contact the service center to validate the service manager‘s signature.
Tampering the odometer not only raises the value of the vehicle, it also deceives buyers that the vehicle is in better condition.